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32 NC Bookstores Oppose HB2

The following open letter was signed by thirty-two North Carolina bookstores and three North Carolina publishers.

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To The Honorable Governor Pat McCrory and members of the North Carolina General Assembly,

As the owners and managers of independent bookstores, part of our mission is to provide that “third place,” an additional public space other than home or work where folks can gather to discuss issues important to our community. Ray Oldenburg, in his book, The Great Good Place, “argues that ‘third places… are the heart of a community’s social vitality and the grassroots of democracy.’” As independent bookstores providing that third place in communities across our state, we believe it is essential to be non-discriminatory, inclusive and tolerant, to promote freedom of speech and equality, and to guard against censorship and unfair treatment.

Another part of our mission is to be profitable; to allow ourselves and our employees to earn a respectable living. What both of these mission statements share is the need for people to visit our stores and become customers. Authors have already started to cancel appearances at North Carolina bookstores over what the ACLU describes as “the most extreme anti-LGBT measure in the country.” This can and will have a real negative impact on our businesses. It doesn’t make sense, financially or otherwise, to choose discrimination over inclusion. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what lawmakers have done by passing HB2.

Company after company is withdrawing from doing business in NC until this legislation is repealed. Retailers and others are already feeling the economic impact of this legislation and we are sure, because of the momentum behind more businesses, conferences, artists, rock stars, authors, and ordinary citizens choosing places other than North Carolina to spend their vacations, the worst financial impact is yet to come.

Small Business Majority’s polling found 67 percent of North Carolina’s entrepreneurs believe North Carolina should have a law prohibiting employment discrimination against LGBT people. Nationally, two-thirds of small businesses say business owners shouldn’t be able to deny goods or services to LGBT individuals. (More info on this polling is here.)

For North Carolina, the choice between small businesses and discrimination should be clear. We hope our lawmakers make the right decision and repeal HB2.

All Booked Up, Apex
Blue Ridge Books, Waynesville
Bookmarks, Winston-Salem
Books to be Red, Ocracoke
Books Unlimited, Fayetteville
Buxton Village Books, Buxton
C. Clayton Thompson – Booksellers, Boone
City Lights Bookstore, Sylva
Downtown Books, Manteo
Ducks Cottage Coffee & Books, Duck
Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill
Letters Bookshop, Durham
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe, Asheville
McIntyre’s Fine Books, Pittsboro
Novels & Novelties Bookstore, Hendersonville
Page 158 Books, Wake Forest
Pomegranate Books, Wilmington
Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh
Quarter Moon Bookstore, Topsail Beach
Regulator Bookshop, Durham
Scuppernong Books, Greensboro
Scuttlebutt Nautical Books & Bounty, Beaufort
Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville
Sunrise Books, High Point
The Book Shelf, Tryon
The Coffeehound Bookshop, Louisburg
The Dollar Book Exchange, Raleigh
The Island Bookstore, Corolla
The Island Bookstore, Duck
The Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk
The Red Door, Saxapahaw
Uprising Coffee and Books, Eden

Supporting publishers:

Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing, Chapel Hill & NYC
Eno Publishers, Hillsborough
John F. Blair Publisher, Winston-Salem

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Thank you to our friends at Quail Ridge Books for passing this along.

2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Finalists

Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother's StorySeveral North Carolina Writers’ Network members are finalists in the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize (formerly known as the SIBA Book Award). The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize features an expanded list of categories – adding Mystery, Thriller, Literary, and History and Life Stories to the traditional categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Cooking, Children’s, and Young Adult.

Finalists were chosen by southern independent booksellers from the long list ballot. The finalist titles will be sent to juried panels of booksellers, who will then decide on the winners in each category. Winners will be announced on July 4, “Independents Day.”

As follows:

Miss Julia Lays Down the LawMiss Julia Lays Down the Law by Ann B. Ross (Beach Music Mystery Prize)
It’s up to Miss Julia to sort out the murder of a hoity-toity newcomer in the latest addition to the New York Times bestselling series. Miss Julia fans both new and old will be especially keen to get their hands on the sixteenth in the series, Miss Julia Lays Down the Law, guaranteed to be the steel magnolia’s most exciting adventure yet. It’s November and Miss Julia is looking forward to some quiet time before the holidays. That is until snobby Connie Clayborn and her rich husband move to town. At first, Miss Julia and the other ladies are pleased to be invited over for coffee, but the afternoon turns into a slap in the face when their hostess spouts nonstop criticism about Abbotsville. Why, how dare she? Days later, Miss Julia decides to confront Connie woman to woman, but when she arrives, Connie is lying on the kitchen floor lifeless in a pool of blood. Who could have done this? Miss Julia will need to find out fast particularly because her fingerprints are now all over the crime scene.

Above the WaterfallAbove the Waterfall by Ron Rash (The Prince of Tides Literary Prize)
In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land. Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town. Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina. Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond – and threaten to carry them over the edge.

Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story by David Payne (The Water Is Wide: Histories and Life Stories Prize)
In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, David Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed, flipped over in the road, and died instantly. Soon thereafter, David’s life hit a downward spiral. His career came to a standstill, his marriage disintegrated, and his drinking went from a cocktail-hour indulgence to a full-blown addiction. He found himself haunted not only by George A.’s death, but also by his brother’s manic depression, a hereditary illness that overlaid a dark family history whose roots now gripped David. Barefoot to Avalon is Payne’s earnest and unflinching account of George A. and their boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives. As universal as it is intimate, this is an exceptional memoir of brotherhood, of sibling rivalries and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Poppy’s Pants Jr.: Youngsters Prize)
An exciting new mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate and must solve a dark and dangerous mystery. This Disney-Hyperion novel became a New York Times Bestseller in the first week of its release, and has been a smash hit ever since. Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways. But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

The Odds of Getting EvenThe Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage (Poppy’s Pants: Young Adult Prize)
Humor and action abound in this second follow-up to the Newberry honor winner and New York Times bestseller, Three Times Lucky. The trial of the century has come to Tupelo Landing, NC. Mo and Dale, aka Desperado Detectives, head to court as star witnesses against Dale’s daddy – confessed kidnapper Macon Johnson. Dale’s nerves are jangled, but Mo, who doesn’t mind getting even with Mr. Macon for hurting her loved ones, looks forward to a slam dunk conviction – if everything goes as expected. Of course nothing goes as expected. Macon Johnson sees to that. In no time flat, Macon’s on the run, Tupelo Landing’s in lock-down, and Dale’s brother’s life hangs in the balance. With Harm Crenshaw, newly appointed intern, Desperado Detectives are on the case. But it means they have to take on a tough client – one they’d never want in a million years.

Short-list finalists were chosen from a long list of 140 titles. The Pat Conroy Book Prize honors author Pat Conroy, one of the South’s most beloved writers.

Bookmarks Explores Brick and Mortar Expansion

Winston-Salem-based Bookmarks is arguably best-known for their annual Festival of Books and Authors, the largest of its kind in North Carolina. But the festival is only one of many programs run by this literary non-profit, including Authors in Schools (which reached 5,500 students last year) and a series of author talks in the Triad.

On Monday, Bookmarks announced their newest venture: the launch of an exploratory committee charged with the mission of “creating a gathering place that combines an independent bookstore, a space for Bookmarks-sponsored events and programs with other organizations, and Bookmarks’ offices.”

A brick and mortar bookstore would be a terrific addition to the cultural landscape of Winston-Salem, which has been without an indy since Barnhill’s transitioned (and eventually closed) in mid-2014.

“An independent bookstore will provide a cultural gathering place and fill a major gap in Winston-Salem’s literary scene,” said Charlie Lovett, a New York Times bestselling novelist and president of Bookmarks’ Board of Directors.

Bookmarks is rare, if not unique, among literary organizations, because it also sells books. Under the direction of Operations Director Jamie Rogers Southern, book sales have tripled since Bookmarks began selling books in 2013. Book sales have become an increasingly important part of Bookmarks’ funding support.

For the full press release, click here.

Meet Our Spring Conference Exhibitors – Part 3

Pre-registration for our 2016 Spring Conference closes on Sunday. So there’s still time to register at a great discount, and ensure your place in what promises to be a fun, full day of sessions, readings, and of course, shaking hands and chatting up an exhibit hall packed with vendors.

We’ve been introducing those worthy souls who’ll be staffing vendor tables. Here’s the final round-up:

The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map, established at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro University Libraries, is to highlight the literary heritage of the state by connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works. The selection criteria of the North Carolina Literary Map are broad and inclusive. The criteria focuses on works written about North Carolina and authors who were born in North Carolina, who currently live or have lived in North Carolina, who have written about North Carolina, or who have made a significant contribution to the North Carolina’s literary landscape. The author must have at least one publication cataloged by the Library of Congress. At this time, the Map includes only works that have a physical equivalent and does not include literary articles, self-publishing houses, works published by vanity presses, or works only available from an individual website.

P53 Bar Logo smPress 53 was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson and quickly began earning a reputation as a quality publishing house of short fiction and poetry collections. Located in Winston-Salem, they publish up to five short fiction collections each year, including the winner of our Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. They publish up to to eight poetry collections each year, including one collection by the winner of our Press 53 Award for Poetry. In July 2010, Press 53 launched Prime Number Magazine, a free online quarterly publication of distinctive poetry and prose. Their authors include former NC poet laureates Joseph Bathanti, Kathryn Stripling Byer, and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson; poets Joseph Mills and Valerie Nieman; and fiction writers Quinn Dalton and Marjorie Hudson. Their first Press 53 Classics edition was The Land Breakers, by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee John Ehle, which was published by Harper & Row in 1964. Last fall, they re-released Lion on the Hearth, the sixth book in Ehle’s seven-book Appalachian series.

Prospective Press is an avid independent publisher, connecting readers to great stories by great authors. They produce books in the traditional way, a commitment to quality and a keen interest for compelling content. However, they also keep an eye to the future, watching for ways to make the reading experiences even more enjoyable and satisfying. From the Piedmont region of North Carolina, they bring a world of quality genre fiction and select nonfiction. Their nonfiction imprint connects readers with a nascent collection of enjoyable and informative books on select topics involving the body, mind, and spirit. Fiction includes High Fantasy and Urban Fantasy; Young Adult and Mythological; Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction; Paranormal and PNR; Women’s Fiction; and more. For a list of their authors, click here.

Two of Cups Press, based in Greensboro, has a bias for poetry (specifically anthologies and chapbooks). They’re a small operation willing to take on a handful of projects each year, sometimes posting open calls. They want to partner with poets, artists, other small presses. They want to capture magic on paper. They run an annual chapbook contest, where the winner and finalists are considered for publication. View their list here.

Wisdom House Books is a publishing hybrid boutique, offering all the advantages of alternative publishing while still maintaining a standard of the highest quality production and design. They make publishing one’s manuscript easy and affordable. Their mission is to produce quality books that make a positive difference in the world. Whether a writer has an inspiring personal story, a spiritual message, a key to better health and well-being, or a new method for financial success, they will personally and professionally guide a book through the publishing process with care and integrity. They provide all the services of a major publisher, but the author retains 100 percent of the royalties and 100 percent of the selling profits. There are no “Publishing Packages” or “Levels” here. They simply offer a list of services to select based on what works best for an author’s goals and budget. For a list of Wisdom House Books authors, click here.

Ready to register? Click here!

Meet Our Spring Conference Exhibitors – Part 2

Scout's HonorWorkshops and sessions are only part of what Spring Conference is all about. Just as rewarding—and equally fun—is the chance to stroll the exhibit hall, where North Carolina-based vendors representing some of the most esteemed literary organizations in the state will happily chat with you about just about anything. It’s a good chance to talk to publishers, to see what they publish and why, and to hear what they’re excited about this year. After all, part of the purpose of any conference is to “network”—it says so right there in our name!

In our ongoing series, we’re introducing this year’s NCWN Spring Conference exhibitors. Here are a few more:

Dori Ann Duprè is the author of Scout’s Honor. Born and raised in New Jersey, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in History and is a veteran of the United States Army. Dori currently works in the legal field in North Carolina, where she resides with her family. Scout’s Honor, her debut novel, tells the story of Scout Webb, a kind, spirited fourteen-year-old, a small town southern girl, and a tomboy. A story of a self, lost…a self, loathed…and a self, rediscovered…it examines the harsh and cruel ways in which otherwise well-intentioned and decent people treat each other…even those they claim to love, but even more so…ultimately, how we treat our own selves. Watch the trailer here.

GreensboroReviewJThe Greensboro Review is a local lit mag with an international reputation. Published by the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, they’ve been “old school” since 1965. They take submissions year-round, and sponsor the annual Robert Watson Literary Prizes. Recent issues have featured Dan Albergotti, Joseph Bathanti, Ansel Elkins, Philip Gerard, Jake Adam York, and NCWN 2016 Spring Conference faculty member Lauren Moseley, alongside many emerging writers. The Greensboro Review is edited by Jim Clark; Terry L. Kennedy is the Associate Editor.

LaVensonLaVenson Press Studios seeks to offer women and young women writing workshops that instill emotional and psychological truth in their writing. As a way of nurturing not just the artistic mind, but also the body, light meals and snacks are prepared for participants from LaVenson Press Studios’ organic garden. Because the studio’s founder, Zelda Lockhart, feels that one’s writing is not finished until it reaches its audience, LaVenson Press Studios also hosts a literary magazine, Firefly Ridge, which hosts a Poetry & Prose Literary Competition yearly. Lockhart’s forthcoming book, The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript, shepherds women (those without or with writing experience) through the sharing of an initial wound event in life, and through exercises that help them to transform internal obstacles into external gifts, and then write resolution and outcome.

Lucia Peel Powe earned her BFA in speech and drama at Wesleyan Conservatory in Macon, Georgia, and later attended UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, and East Carolina University for graduate work. Eastern North Carolinians remember her as “Miss Lucia” on the syndicated program, Romper Room, produced in Greenville, NC. Over the years she has taught creative writing, speech, drama, music and art history at both college and high school levels. Along with her first husband, Judge Elbert “Junie” Peel, of Williamston, Lucia reared four daughters (Lucia Claire Peel, Mimi Peel Roughton, Sydney Peel Woodside and Elizabeth Peel), one horse, and several dogs and cats. Widowed for ten years, she married another attorney, E.K. Powe, of Durham, the father of three daughters. Her new book is The Osprey’s View (Wisdom House Books).

Meet Our Spring Conference Exhibitors – Part 1

The North Carolina Writers’ Network hosts our annual Spring Conference on Saturday, April 23, at UNCG. Registration is now open.

Along with a full-day of workshops and sessions, faculty readings and open mics, we’ll offer an exhibit hall packed with vendors. In this three-part series, we’ll introduce the awesome North Carolina literary organizations who will join us in the exhibit hall:

Durham-based Backbone Press is a small press with a big vision. It’s a venue for ethnic poets, including African-American writers, which has a deep interest in poetry by Latino/a, Asian, and other Ethnicities. The press is also a seeker of poetry that is political, evocative, social, gritty, and also personal and poignant. Their writers include Tara Betts and Tyree Daye.

Winston-Salem based publisher John F. Blair published its first book in 1954. Through the years, literary gems that sold minimal copies were published alongside popular cookbooks and travel guides. Since that first book, John F. Blair, Publisher, has published several hundred other titles and started distribution of other publisher’s titles. Authors include Wilton Barnhardt, Jan DeBlieu, Judy Goldman, Robert Inman, Guy Pearce, Daniel Wallace, and many more. Spring 2016 titles include Dark of the Island by Phillip Gerard and Crooked Letter I: Coming Out in the South, edited by Connie Griffin.

Bull City Press publishes a small quarterly magazine, Inch; poetry chapbooks through the Frost Place Chapbook Fellowship; and the Bull City Poetry Prize series. Established in Durham in 2006, their authors include Ellen C. Bush, Michael McFee, and Anna Ross. Inch accepts flash fiction and nonfiction under 750 words, and poetry that is one to nine lines in length. Submissions are open year-round. Tiara Clark was the winner of the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition; the contest opens again in October.

Carolina Wren Press is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to publish quality writing, especially by writers historically neglected by mainstream publishing, and to develop diverse and vital audiences through publishing, outreach, and educational programs. This Durham-based publisher sponsors the annual Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman that honors full-length prose work (novel, short story collection, or memoir) by an author who is a woman. Submissions are open through June 15. CWP authors include Chantel Acevedo, Moira Crone, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green. Their newest title is Midnight Bowling by Quinn Dalton, who will lead the Master Class in Fiction at the NCWN 2016 Spring Conference.

Pre-registration is open for the NCWN 2016 Spring Conference through Sunday, April 17. Register now!

North Carolina Award Nominations

From our friends at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources:

RALEIGH, N.C. – Just over two weeks remain to make a nomination for the 2016 North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state. The nomination period closes April 15, 2016. Created by the General Assembly in 1961, the award recognizes “notable accomplishments by North Carolina citizens” in the fields of literature, science, fine arts, and public service.

Award nominations may be submitted by Award Nominations may be submitted by anyone either online at http://www.ncdcr.gov/ncawards/nominations or by sending nomination materials to the North Carolina Awards Committee, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, 4601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4601.

“This is the opportunity for us to pay tribute to the North Carolinians who better our experiences by their extraordinary involvement in this state,” says Susan Kluttz, Secretary of the N. C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Please nominate a co-worker, community leader, or friend who has served North Carolina with distinction.”

The North Carolina Awards Committee will review the nominations and make its selections in early summer. The recipients will be honored during ceremonies in Raleigh in September. Past award recipients have included some of the country’s most distinguished artists, poets, writers, performers, journalists, scientists and public servants; including William Friday, Romare Bearden, James Taylor, Gertrude Elion, John Hope Franklin, David Brinkley, Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, and Branford Marsalis.

Award recipients in 2016 were Anthony S. Abbott of Davidson for Literature; Dr. Anthony Atala, of Winston-Salem for Science; Senator James T. Broyhill of Winston-Salem for Public Service; Dr. A. Everette James, Jr., of Chapel Hill for Fine Arts; Howard N. Lee of Chapel Hill for Public Service; and Patricia McBride of Charlotte for Fine Arts.

The nomination form and guidelines are available online. To receive forms by mail or by e-mail contact Jennifer.fontes@ncdcr.gov or call (919) 807-7256.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to
experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Nancy Olson, RIP

Nancy Olson

Nancy Olson, founder of Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, died yesterday. She was seventy-five.

For twenty-nine years, Quail Ridge Books has been at the center of the Triangle’s literary scene. National bestselling authors have graced its stage alongside local writers. The store’s selection has always been hand-crafted to offer strong support for book clubs, those interested in writing, and readers of all ages.

Raleigh’s The News & Observer offered a long obituary yesterday that is well worth the read.

Quail Ridge posted this remembrance on its website.

Publisher’s Weekly named Olson “Bookseller of the Year” in 2001. The site also noted her passing.

Please note, QRB recently moved from its longtime home in the Ridgewood Shopping Center. It is now located in a temporary home in the North Hills Shopping Center, 4381-105 Lassiter at North Hills Ave.

Doris Betts Spring Literary Festival

Beloved teacher of writing and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Doris Betts won three Sir Walter Raleigh awards, the Southern Book Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal for the Short Story, among other recognitions. Among her many novels, Souls Raised from the Dead was on the New York Times’ list of top twenty best books in 1994.

She was also a native of Statesville.

This weekend, Thursday, March 24 – Saturday, March 26, Mitchell Community College will hold the fourth annual Doris Betts Spring Literary Festival on the Statesville campus.

The 2016 visiting authors are Joyce Compton Brown (Friday, 3:15 pm), Robert Inman (Friday, 6:30 pm), Kevin Winchester (Saturday, 11:15 am), and Anjail R. Ahmad (Saturday, 1:30 pm). This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday will offer a writing workshop in concurrent sessions at 10:00 am, first-come, first-served. Please contact Kimberly Singh at ksingh@mitchellcc.edu or 704-978-1361 to register.

For a full schedule of events, click here.

Mitchell Community College has been educating residents of Iredell County and surrounding communities since it was chartered in 1852 as a Presbyterian college for women. Mitchell continued its evolution and in 1959 became an independent community college operated by the Mitchell College Foundation and recognized by the state. Mitchell opened one of North Carolina’s first early college (high school) programs in 2004 and added a second in 2008.Today’s Mitchell is preparing motivated high school students to excel by allowing them to earn college credit tuition-free through the Career and College Promise program and two early college high schools.

Meet the Slush Pile Live! Panelists

For the second year in a row, the North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference will feature Slush Pile Live!

Last year’s sessions were insanely popular, with folks camping out in the seminar rooms more than an hour before the program began. This year will be just as thrilling but with one (hopefully) improvement: Slush Pile Live! will offer both poetry and prose in two rooms so that more attendees have a chance to receive feedback on their writing.

Here are the 2016 Slush Pile Live! panelists:

Jason T. Graves

Jason T. Graves is the founder of Prospective Press, which publishes high fantasy and urban fantasy, sci-fi and speculative fiction, and cooking/health and wellness guides, among many others subjects. He lives in North Carolina with his family and a menagerie of small, domestic animals. He takes his coffee black, and—when he is not editing, tutoring, running his businesses, or conducting mysterious, mad-scientist experiments—he writes mysterious and beautiful fiction.

Terry L. Kennedy

Terry L. Kennedy is Associate Director of the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, editor of the online journal storySouth, and associate editor of The Greensboro Review. His poems, essays, and reviews appear in variety of journals and magazines. His poetry collection is New River Breakdown, and in addition to coordinating the visiting writers series, he teaches the undergraduate poetry workshop and a course on entrepreneurship and independent press publishing.

Crystal Simone Smith

Crystal Simone Smith is the founder and managing editor of Backbone Press, a small press with a big vision. Broad, cultural, and forward, the press is a venue for ethnic poets and poetry that is political, invocative, social, gritty, also the personal and poignant. Crystal is the author of the poetry chapbook, Running Music.

Anna B. Sutton

Anna B. Sutton is a writer and co-founder of The Porch Writers’ Collective. She is the poetry editor at Dialogist, a designer at The Porch and One Pause Poetry, and vice president of sales & marketing at John F. Blair, Publisher. She has previously worked for Humanities Tennessee, Lookout Books, and read for the literary journals Ecotone, Chautauqua, Gigantic Sequins, and Atlantis.

Kevin Morgan Watson

Kevin Morgan Watson is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Press 53. With a focus on short fiction and poetry, he has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. He has earned awards in both short fiction and poetry, but no longer writes for publication. Kevin also serves as an advisor for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem.

Ross White

Ross White is the founder and executive director of Bull City Press. He is the author of How We Came Upon the Colony (Unicorn Press, 2014). With Matthew Olzmann, he edited Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series. He is a recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Sicily, and currently teaches poetry writing and grammar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

For more information about Slush Pile Live!, and to register for the NCWN 2016 Spring Conference, click here.